Q. One of our managers was talking on his company cell phone when he struck and injured a pedestrian. Can the pedestrian sue the company? —P.L., Washington
A. The company's liability will hinge, in part, on whether the driver was conducting business on his cell phone when the accident occurred. The court will likely look at who the manager was talking to and the nature of the call, as well as where he was traveling while making the call. Another issue may be whether he was using a hand-held phone while conducting company business.
To avoid such problems, employers should draw up written guidelines about cell-phone use on company business, such as requiring employees to use hands-free devices if they must drive and talk.